Arizona is home to 39 higher learning institutions granting both four-year and graduate degrees. College students studying in the Grand Canyon State may choose among nine public universities, 12 nonprofit private colleges, and 18 for-profit schools. While the state is still home to a greater number of for-profit schools than many others, this trend is reversing. In just five years, 120 for-profit higher learning institutions closed in Arizona. During that time, the state's public and nonprofit schools expanded their online offerings. In fact, Arizona State University gained more online learners in one year than any other school in the country. Several other schools in Arizona rank highly on the list of schools with the most online enrollees.

Online MBA Programs in Arizona

Arizona-based colleges and universities offer MBAs with concentrations in a variety of disciplines, including finance, industrial engineering, accounting, and healthcare management. The schools on the list below are the state's top online MBA providers. All of these higher education institutions hold regional accreditation, while some also have national accreditation.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
College America - Flagstaff
Location Flagstaff , AZ Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 86 Student Population 137 Tuition $29,160 School Type Private

CollegeAmerica offers an online MBA in Arizona through affiliation with Independence University, a non-profit online school based out of Salt Lake City, UT. Both CollegeAmerica and Independence University hold accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, recognized by the US Department of Education. Classes begin monthly, and qualifying college credits or military experience can fulfill up to 25% of degree requirements. This 60-credit MBA program can be completed in 15 months, with a curriculum focused on organizational dynamics, corporate finance, and economic analysis. Independence University offers personalized online student support and advising, extensive career services, and continued post-graduation support, including the opportunity to audit classes in your field at no additional cost. Students may also visit the Flagstaff, AZ CollegeAmerica campus for in-person support.

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Arizona State University
Location Tempe , AZ Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 45 Student Population 51,984 Tuition $60,000 School Type Public

Arizona State University's online MBA offers class start dates in January and August. Students spend 7.5 weeks on each class, taking two courses at a time, so the program can be completed in 21 months. Core courses and electives culminate in a strategic management capstone project, wherein students formulate an organization's functional strategy and policy. Students at ASU are able to customize their college experiences with optional specializations in finance, international business, marketing, or supply chain management. These concentrations allow them to study topics aligned with their professional goals. ASU also offers dual-degree options in the MBA program, allowing students to earn an additional degree in legal studies, electrical engineering, or industrial engineering.

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University of Arizona
Location Tucson , AZ Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 41 Student Population 42,595 Tuition $45,000 School Type Public

The 45-credit University of Arizona online MBA offers six start dates. Their flexible schedule, combined with asynchronous instructional delivery, allows students to complete coursework and work full time. Depending on how many courses you take each term, you can finish in 15 months. Whether you study full time or part time, program costs remain the same and include all required course materials and ebooks. The University of Arizona offers six different MBA concentrations, fulfilled by taking specific elective courses: entrepreneurship, healthcare, finance, management and organizations, management information systems, or marketing. Application requirements include a GMAT score (waived for individuals with specific credentials), brief essay, resume, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts from all prior institutions.

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Grand Canyon University
Location Phoenix , AZ Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 72 Student Population 69,444 Tuition $25,760 School Type Private

Pursuing the Arizona online MBA available from Grand Canyon University promotes advancement in leadership development, organizational growth, and operations management. Their 46-credit program consists of core courses, offering no electives or concentration options. However, the comprehensive degree plan reflects and responds to the needs of today's businesses, so students study accounting and finance, forecasting and fundraising, departmental functions and diversity, and sustainability in the global marketplace. The asynchronous format requires no set times for class meetings or lectures; students complete their work on their own schedules. Graduate admission requires a completed undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.8 GPA or a completed graduate degree. In some cases, admission may require GRE or GMAT scores.

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University of Phoenix
Location Tempe , AZ Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 79 Student Population 165,743 Tuition $26,640 School Type Private

The University of Phoenix offers working professionals the opportunity to complete an Arizona online MBA in as few as 18 months. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the University of Phoenix offers a selection of courses in corporate finance, organizational leadership, human capital management, and applied business research and statistics that provide a well-rounded exploration of business topics and fundamental skills. Their MBA program requires only 36 credits for completion. To focus on a certain area of business expertise, you may choose to complete an additional concentration certificate, which requires 12 further credits. Certificate options include project management, accounting, human resource management, and marketing. To apply, you must hold an undergraduate degree, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and meet work experience requirements. The program offers several start times each academic year, allowing for maximum flexibility.

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Why Consider an Online MBA in Arizona?

Students earn online MBAs in Arizona from four universities: University of Phoenix-Arizona (UOPX), Grand Canyon University (GCU), Arizona State University (ASU), and the University of Arizona (UA). UOPX is a for-profit private school that enrolls more online learners than any school in the United States. Learners who prefer public schools choose between the ASU and UA.

About 60% of the state's population lives in Maricopa County, and the state is growing faster than almost any other in the country. Students hoping to avoid living in this densely populated area and to avoid commuting to school can earn online MBAs in Arizona.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 383,696 80,831
Exclusively Distance 299,213 77,545
On-Campus 350,542 30,810
Source: Digital Learning Compass

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 279,173 69,742
Private not-for-profit 9,606 385
Public 360,976 10,704
Source: Digital Learning Compass

MBA Concentrations for Arizona Students

Online MBA schools in Arizona offer concentrations allowing students to focus learning in specific business areas. Degree candidates looking to work in the Arizona can choose specializations that help them enter the state's largest industries, including aerospace, defense, technology, innovation, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, film, and digital media. For example, learners who want to join the healthcare industry can choose health administration concentrations. While employers do not always require learners to hold degrees with specializations, these credentials help applicants stand out. Below are just a few of the concentration options for online MBAs in Arizona.

  • Health Administration: Students with this concentration take courses in areas such as healthcare policy, health information systems, healthcare law. Graduates join Arizona's growing healthcare and biosciences industries.
  • Finance: Graduates fill managerial roles in the financial sector. Learners take courses in financial statement analysis, financial modeling, and investment analysis.
  • Supply Chain Management: Degree candidates learn about the supply chain through full cycles, including design, production, consumer use, and disposal. Several significant industries in Arizona rely on this knowledge, including manufacturing and technology.

Accreditation in Arizona

Accreditation is a vital component to the best online MBA programs in Arizona. These schools have met the strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Organizations may offer either regional or national accreditation. Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit vocational or technical institutions, and nonprofit schools typically seek the more preferred regional accreditation. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school are less likely to transfer than those from their regionally accredited counterparts.

Arizona Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

Arizona boasts the third-fastest growing economy in the United States. In 2018, the state's gross domestic product numbers grew 4.3%, while the national GDP grew 3.9%. Much of Arizona's growth has come from companies in the finance, business services, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Since these sectors tend to resist economic downturns, Arizona remains an excellent place for professional growth.

Experts expect economic growth to continue at this rate through at least 2022. Employment rates should rise at equal levels. In fact, experts project job growth of 41.8% in the next 10 years in Arizona. Meanwhile, the average job growth in the country is projected at about 33.5%.

Candidates earning online MBAs in Arizona position themselves to expand with the state's economy. Companies that start in or move to Arizona need local, well-trained managers to oversee their teams. These professionals can also expect to make above-average wages. While the median income in Arizona sits at $49,290, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that managers in Arizona earn an average of $104,940 annually. The chart below highlights some of the largest Arizona-based employers.

Top Employers in Arizona

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
Arizona State University Tempe Higher Education 80,000
Showroom At Casino Arizona at Salt River Scottsdale Gaming 15,000
University of Arizona Tucson Higher Education 14,466
Source: Career OneStop

An online MBA in Arizona can help candidates find managerial positions in these organizations. After all, higher education organizations and casinos need qualified professionals to manage their large workforces. Graduates can also find work at some of the state's other top employers, including Raytheon Missile Systems, Mayo Clinic, Southwest Airlines, Honeywell Aerospace, TMC Healthcare, and American Express. These national companies hire MBAs to oversee several areas of their businesses, including marketing, finance, and supply chains.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Arizona

According to the BLS, the average annual earnings for all workers in Arizona is $49,290. Learners first increase their earning potential with bachelor's degrees. PayScale reports the average professional with a BBA in Arizona earns $63,382 per year. With an MBA, that average increases to $80,988 per year. Learners can often earn an online MBA in Arizona in one to two years, increasing their earning potential by tens of thousands of dollars per year. Graduates can earn even more if they take certain high-paying management positions, such as top executive or information systems manager.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Management and Administration $77,000
General Business $87,000
Source: Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBA Grads in Arizona

Medical and Health Services Manager

These supervisors oversee workers in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient facilities, and surgery centers. Duties include setting schedules, creating budgets, managing healthcare quality outcomes, and hiring new clinical workers. In Arizona, these managers earn an average of $115,770 annually, which is about $2,000 more than the national average.

Engineering Manager

Arizona's growing aerospace, technology, and defense companies need these supervisors, who boast both managerial and technological skills. These professionals oversee projects, ensure their teams meet deadlines, and make final engineering decisions. The mean annual wage for engineering managers in Arizona is $133,860, and there are 3,490 of these positions in the state.

Financial Manager

Companies in the financial sector need managers with strong mathematical and financial analysis skills to oversee teams in financial services, including insurance, accounting, investments, and banking industries. The average financial manager in Arizona earns $117,620 per year.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Arizona needs MBA professionals with an understanding of information systems. These managers oversee cybersecurity, data analysis, computer networks, and programming teams. The Grand Canyon State's 7,090 computer and information systems managers earn an average of $137,420 per year.

Advertising and Promotions Manager

While most organizations need managers who specialize in advertising and promotions, this is especially important in digital media, which is growing in Arizona. Advertising and promotions managers design promotional campaigns, oversee advertising production, and measure results. In the Grand Canyon State, these managers earn average wages of $83,700 per year.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Arizona

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Arizona. These include the factors discussed above, like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school's business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school's website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.

Online MBA Programs in Surrounding States

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